Last night the traveling circus known as the New York Knicks came to Chocolate City, (a.k.a. Washington, D.C. to the un-hip). Except this time, there weren’t any elephants unless you count Eddy Curry and Larry Brown doing a sad clown impression all night. I got an in person look at the train wreck known as the Isiah Thomas Fantasy Team.
From the standpoint of a true die-hard Wizard fan, this was one of those games where you’re deathly afraid your team would play down to the level of competition. Our five spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs looks pretty solid, but the Cavaliers still scare the crap outta’ me, with “Larry Huge” back and all.
Brendan Haywood came back for this game after having a “chronic soreness” in his back, which is Wizard’s talk for “In Eddie Jordan’s Doghouse”. These two have been quietly going back and forth all season, in one of those “tough love” type scenarios where Brendan plays well for a few weeks, loses his motivation, then needs a kick in the ass to refocus. The 9 points and one lonely rebound in 20 minutes didn’t help his cause however, with Etan Thomas holding down the starting center position nicely with 13 points and 5 boards.
The real surprise tonight was my man Gilbert “I Take It Personal” Arenas. A normal Gilbert night consists of about 30-35 points 7 dimes and a few steals for good measure. Tonight, you could see him more concerned with setting guys up, running the offense and trying to give his teammates some confidence. It came through in his box score too, 13 points 13 assists and 6 steals. He’s definitely matured from the me-first, Golden State gunner days, which makes you wonder….what’s Starbury’s problem? Gil’s 24 while Steph’s almost 30.
Wearing their test-pattern like Baltimore Bullets uniforms, the Wiz lead throughout the game and pretty much never looked back. Antawn was classic Antawn, giving the Wiz his usual mix of loopy finger rolls and hook shots, while Caron Butler, who was the “X” factor coming into this season, put on an in-game dunk contest in the first quarter.
You can see why the Knicks are so badly damaged, with their most expensive guys on the bench (Steph, Jalen Rose and Super, Duper Star Center Jerome James). Once again, you could see Larry cringe as Jamal Crawford continued his ClankFest 2006 tour, shooting a Knick-like 3 for 11 with ONE assist. With teammates like that, who needs opponents?
It was a well executed, “let’s handle our business” type game from the Wiz, and they needed it because they take on the pesky Celtics tomorrow. Hey speaking of which, remember the back and forth between Paul Pierce and Arenas in the last game that yielded the double finger salute from Gilbert? I gotta see what Gil does this time.
Wed 04/05/06, 1:27 pm EST
- Brian Taylor @ HoopsAddict.com